British Council

'QESSP was a historic project that achieved a lot with a small budget. The flexibility, the genuine appreciation of our needs, and the quality of delivery are exemplary. We want other donor-funded programmes to learn from QESSP.' - Dr. Tilaye Gete, Minister of Education of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Life cycle





Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office


To enhance the capacity of the education sector in Ethiopia to improve outcomes for learners through building capacity, enhancing policy dialogue and improving the evidence base in education. 


There is a huge demand for skills, learning opportunities and qualifications as the Ethiopian economy continues to grow and as the Government of Ethiopia implements its own national development plan. Since 2014, we have applied our 77 years of education experience to support the Ethiopian Ministry of Education (MoE) to provide quality education, technical assistance, management support and flexible funds to support education policy. Our excellent track record of working closely with the MoE and various educational institutions means we were well positioned to improve overall learning outcomes in the country. 


Throughout the Quality Education Strategic Support Programme (QESSP lifecycle), pilot projects were designed and implemented across five key components: teacher education; school leadership; equity and efficiency in education; curriculum development and management capacity; and system strengthening. As a highly flexible technical assistance programme, QESSP was well suited to test innovation by capturing innovative ideas across all parties, whilst designing, piloting and implementing the innovation and learning from this quickly. Excellent examples of this includes the testing of school improvement measures in the Amhara region and the testing of a leadership capacity development project. 


Using the UK's financial support, we have helped to build the capacity of the Ethiopian MoE and regional education stakeholders to plan, design, implement and evaluate programmes to improve quality across the sector. QESSP has provided 7,800 days of technical assistance to the MoE and Regional Education Bureaus (REBs). The programme has enabled the completion of 15 major studies and 20,000 beneficiaries have been directly trained by QESSP, mobilising significant funds in partnerships. A key lesson learnt was the importance of assigning full-time local staff to activities and projects, such as at the school improvement project in Amhara, whereby greater local ownership, support and communications could have been achieved with more local staff.

In 2018-19, the programme launched several key components, including a national digital data collection system; a national accreditation manual and the national Teacher Workforce Management Framework. In addition, the Instructional Leadership Capacity Development Project trained 35 master trainers, 330 centre coordinators and 10,500 school principals and supervisors across the region. We also helped to conduct the first-ever study into the use of plasma TVs in Ethiopian secondary schools. 

Mutual benefit

In delivering Quality Education Strategic Support Programme (QESSP), we benefitted from collaboration with several international and Ethiopian partners. UK partners had the opportunity to showcase their expertise including Adam Smith International, Ark Education Partnerships Group, Delivery Associates, Ecorys International, NFER, NILE and Transform ELT, Oxford Policy Management and the University of Bradford. By 2020, the UK will be recognised as a key partner of choice in Ethiopia through our contribution of technical assistance, management support and flexible funds in education and societal development. The programme has further strengthened long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships between the UK and Ethiopia.